You've decided to quit your job and stay at home with the children. Now you are asking yourself, "What comes next?" You may be worried that without that second income, your children will not be able to have all the things their friends have. You may have a private fear that you will feel trapped and unfulfilled. You wonder how you will find happiness in the daily grind of motherhood. How will you find fulfillment in your home?
Following are a few tips for making your day go smoothly:
- Schedule and plan your day. Staying at home with the kids becomes much more stressful if your day does not have a plan or schedule. When you float aimlessly through your days, you lose your focus and you end up feeling empty and depressed.
- Eliminate the things that frustrate. The greatest rewards in parenting come in actually spending time with your children. You will always feel frustrated if you're trying to do everything else rather than mother those little people. Limit time on the computer to times when the children are napping or early in the morning before they wake up. If you're a scrapbook person, stop scrapbooking the memories and start making the memories.
- Make things interesting for your children. Set up a bird feeder and find a good bird book. The kids will love watching the birds at the window and identifying them. Take them to the school playground and shoot hoops with them. Go on bike rides as a family. Make some old-fashioned taffy and pull it together. Take your kids to the library and get them library cards. Generally, kids get more excited about reading when they have their own cards and check out their own books. Pack up dinner and take it to the park. Play charades with your children. Lie out on warm nights and look at the stars. Take a walking tour of your city. Visit local museums with your kids. Pop popcorn and make popcorn balls.
- Look at your home as a place to use your talents. Decorate your home, repaint white stark walls, make nutritious meals for your children, raise a flower garden or a vegetable garden, find out how to preserve the food from your garden, find good books to read to your kids, learn how to make a quilt, teach yourself how to sew, learn how to make yeast breads, pick the wild flowers growing by the road and put a fresh bouquet on your window sill or teach yourself how to paint.
- Make time for yourself. Go out for coffee with friends or get a babysitter and go to dinner with your husband. Taking a walk without the kids is a sure way to relieve stress. It also gives you time to gather your thoughts and refocus. Get a manicure.
Above all, realize that, as a mother, your job is the greatest job on earth. Be all you can be in your home and family. No one can ever replace you! The time to mother those children is now. Everything else can wait.